Written by David F. Walker
Drawn by Bilquis Evely
Published by Dynamite Comics
PREVIOUSLY: Shaft #2
So, as per last issue, Shaft’s burgeoning romance with a woman named Arletha got interrupted by some goons who burst into her apartment with guns, looking for her ex-roomate Marisol. Shaft got forced to try to help one of the goons try and find her, which lead back to Shaft’s old stomping grounds in Harlem, which lead to a fight with some White gangsters and a gun-fight. Shaft rushed back to Arletha’s only to find her and the goon who had been holding her at gunpoint both shot dead.
This issue opens with Shaft being questioned by the cops for the two murders. Thankfully his new boss at the P.I. firm vouches for him, and Shaft is let go, although he remains a suspect. His only hope to stay free is to solve these murders himself, which means finding Marisol and who wants her so badly and why. So we get to see Shaft utilizing his detective skills, following a clues and such. Writer David F. Walker seems to be aware that Shaft is more than just an “action hero”, he’s a thinking man who utilizes his brains as much as his fists. The trial leads Shaft to a confrontation with Mr. Sal, the White gang-leaders who was really pulling the strings of Junius Tate, the Black gang-leader who tried to get Shaft to take a dive in the boxing ring back in Shaft #1. Sal is also looking for Marisol, and still considers that Shaft owes him a debt for not losing that fight, and now Shaft finds himself reluctantly working for the mob, as he still tries to locate that mysterious woman and solve Arletha’s murder.
So this is another solid issue, which reads like an illustrated crime novel. There’s also a sequence where we read Shaft’s inner-thoughts about Arletha, who he cared for more than he wanted to admit. Since this series is basically “Shaft Begins,” I think we’re seeing the reason behind Shaft’s legendary Ladies Man attitude, what happened to Arletha and how it effects him must be what made him wary of emotional attachments going forward. It’s very insightful. And, as always, I continue to enjoy Bilquis Evely’s artwork on this title. SHAFT from Dynamite Comics continues to be a winner.